The last two days saw two closely fought Tests – England v Windies in Leeds and Bangladesh v Australia in Mirpur – with Windies and Bangladesh emerging as winners.
First, the Mirpur Test. Bangladesh defeated Australia by a narrow margin of 20 runs on Wednesday (August 30) to register their maiden Test victory against them, taking their overall win tally to double figures in Tests.
It was also the 50th Test milestone for Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, the architects of Bangladesh’s win.
The Shakib show
Shakib, who is currently the No. 1 allrounder in the International Cricket Council Test rankings, led the way for his team with 84 and 5 with the bat, and figures of 5 for 68 and 5 for 85 with the ball.
– In the process, Shakib became the first cricketer in Test history to score 1000 runs and take 50 wickets at a single ground. By the end of this Test, Shakib had 1233 runs and 59 wickets in 16 Tests at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
– With a fifer in the first innings, Shakib became the fourth bowler to take five-wicket hauls against nine Test playing nations, joining an elite group that includes Muttiah Muralitharan, Dale Steyn and Rangana Herath.
– This was the eighth time in his career that Shakib scored a fifty and took five wickets in an innings in the same Test. Ian Botham leads the chart with 11, though Shakib has played only 50 Tests compared to Botham’s 102.
Fifty and a five-wicket haul in a Test
|Player||Tests||50 and 5WI||Test/50-5WI|
|Ian Botham (Eng)||102||11||9.3|
|Shakib Al Hasan (Ban)||50||8||6.3|
|Richard Hadlee (NZ)||86||6||14.3|
|Ravichandran Ashwin (Ind)||52||5||10.4|
|Malcolm Marshall (WI)||81||5||16.2|
– This was the second occasion when Shakib scored a fifty and took ten wickets in a Test. In 2014, he scored 137 abd 6, and ended with figures of 5 for 80 and 5 for 44 against Zimbabwe in Khulna. Only Richard Hadlee, who achieved this three times, is ahead of Shakib.
Lyon crosses Benaud
Before this match, Nathan Lyon needed two more wickets to go past Richie Benaud’s haul of 248 Test scalps. His nine wickets in the Test not only saw him surpass Benaud but also made him the first offspinner from Australia to reach 250 Test wickets. Among spinners, only Shane Warne (708) has more wickets for Australia in Test cricket than Lyon (256).
At Headingley in Leeds, Shai Hope’s unbeaten 118 and Kraigg Brathwaite’s 95 helped Windies chase a target of 322 against England to register a five-wicket win in the second Test on Tuesday.
Hope made 147 in Windies’ first innings – making him only the tenth batsman from the Caribbean to score centuries in each innings of a Test, with George Headley and Clyde Walcott having done so on two occasions.
The 322-run chase was the fourth-highest successful chase for Windies in Test cricket.
Windies’ highest successful chases in Tests
|418||418/7||Australia||St John’s||May 9, 2003|
|345||348/5||New Zealand||Auckland||February 27, 1969|
|342||344/1||England||Lord’s||June 28, 1984|
|322||322/5||England||Leeds||August 25, 2017|
|317||317/2||Pakistan||Georgetown||March 13, 1958|
After having scored 134 in the first innings, Brathwaite missed his second century of the match by five runs. Had he got there, it would have been the third occasion when two batsmen in a team scored centuries in each innings. The only pairs to have achieved this distinction are Ian Chappell (145 and 121) and Greg Chappell (247* and 133) against New Zealand in Wellington in 1974, and Misbah-ul-Haq (101 and 101*) and Azhar Ali (109 and 100*) against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.
The Headingley Test was also the first time in more than 50 years that England’s two leading wicket-takers in Test cricket featured in a starting XI. Stuart Broad, having gone past Ian Botham’s tally of 383 Test wickets in the first Test at Edgbaston, shared the bowling duties with James Anderson, the leading wicket-taker for England in Test cricket.
The last time England’s two leading wicket-takers featured in a Test was in August 1963, when Fred Trueman and Brian Statham played against Windies at The Oval.
The Anderson-Broad feat was only the fourth occasion when two leading wicket-takers for a team, both with 300-plus Test wickets, played in a Test together. By the end of the Test, Broad had 386 wickets to his name, while Anderson is just three wickets away from the 500-mark.
Two leading wicket-takers playing together
|Bowlers (wickets)||Team||Last Test together|
|Courtney Walsh (483)||Curtly Ambrose (405)||Windies||August 31, 2000|
|Shane Warne (708)||Glenn McGrath (563)||Australia||January 2, 2007|
|Muttiah Muralitharan (770)||Chaminda Vaas (354)||Sri Lanka||February 21, 2009|
|James Anderson (497)||Stuart Broad (386)||England||August 25, 2009|
Note: minimum 300 wickets
Of course, something has to give. Anderson and Broad, for all their wicket-taking prowess, head the list of most ducks for their country. When Broad got out without troubling the scorers in the first innings – for the 23rd time in his career – he went past Anderson, who is neck-and-neck with 22 ducks.
Most ducks for England in Tests
Mixed bag for Cook
In spite of some brilliant cricket, this was also a Test where both the sides dropped quite a few catches. Alastair Cook shelled two catches off Broad to reprieve Kraigg Brathwaite on nine and Shai Hope on 106 during the chase.
It might just have been an aberration, though. In Windies’ first innings, when Cook caught Kieran Powell at first slip, he became the eleventh player in Test cricket to take 150 catches. Fittingly, the catch came off Anderson’s bowling – the duo is the most successful bowler-fielder pair for England, involved in 36 dismissals.
In fact, Cook also features in the second-most successful pair for England – this time with Broad – resulting in 23 wickets.
Root’s purple patch
Although England lost the Test, Joe Root, their skipper, continued his good form with the willow. Two more half-centuries in the game saw Root equalling AB de Villiers’s all-time record of scoring half-centuries in 12 consecutive Tests.
Though these are early days, Root’s performance with the bat has improved since he took over Test captaincy. As a captain, he has scored 728 runs from six Tests at an average of 66.18.
Where he has room to improve, though, is his century conversion rate. Since Root’s Test debut in December, 2012, no one has more fifty-plus scores than him. But out of those 45 occasions when he crossed 50, only 13 were converted into a century, a conversion rate of just 28.89%.
Worst 50 to 100 conversion since Root’s debut
|Alastair Cook (Eng)||60||112||4499||8||26||23.53|
|Angelo Mathews (SL)||41||78||3225||6||17||26.09|
|Joe Root (Eng)||59||109||5322||13||32||28.89|
|Kumar Sangakkara (SL)||21||41||2507||8||13||38.10|
Note: Minimum 20 scores of 50-plus
Six fifties, but no century
England’s second innings in the match included six half-centuries – only thrice has there been more than six 50-plus scores in a Test innings – but none of the batsmen went on to make a century. Their 490 for 8 dec. is the fifth-highest total without a century in Test cricket. The highest is India’s 524 for 9 dec. against New Zealand in Kanpur in 1976.
Highest team total without a century
|India||524/9d||New Zealand||Kanpur||November 18, 1976|
|Australia||520/7d||West Indies||Perth||December 16, 2009|
|South Africa||517||Australia||Adelaide||January 30, 1998|
|Pakistan||500/8d||Australia||Melbourne||December 11, 1981|
|England||490/8d||West Indies||Leeds||August 25, 2017|